During a telling moment in the chat, Gauri Khan finally allowed diplomacy to take a back seat and admitted her latest venture was a choice she made for herself.
“Being a wife, a mother to young baby, a film producer all appear to be time consuming things under the media glare, but really it isn’t,” she confessed. “You can’t just take care of your husband all day or look after your baby. There comes a time you need to do something for yourself, for your own identity. The Design Cell and now The First Ferry is for me.”
The Bollywood star wife to superstar Shah Rukh Khan was in Dubai on Wednesday on a whirlwind 10-hour trip to launch her Gauri Khan line with interiors and design company, The First Ferry, which is based out of Dubai, with offices in London and Singapore.
Gauri, who celebrated the first birthday of her son AbRam a day earlier, was all smiles about her latest venture, admitting that aside from her latest partnership, she was also in talks to branch out her interiors store, The Design Cell, to Dubai in the distant future.
“I have been approached by several people to bring The Design Cell to Dubai in the near future and it is a possibility, but right now, I am bringing my own brand of ‘sparkle’ to the city with this venture, and not just limited it to homes, but also hotels, spas, offices or any design space that could be worked with,” she revealed.
Quizzed whether Gauri would be playing a role in designing the interiors of her husband Shah Rukh’s real estate venture that has been launched once again in Ras Al Khaimah, according to sources, and she said: “No, I am not working on Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard. There are projects in Dubai that are currently under discussion but nothing that can be revealed as yet.”
Over the years, Gauri has designed the interiors of her homes in Mumbai and Dubai, before venturing into a business partnership with Hrithik Roshan’s estranged wife Suzanne Roshan where they have been responsible for designing the interiors of several star homes in Bollywood.
The star duo was also in Dubai in March to preview their joint venture in designing the interiors of a villa project in Goa.
Ask whether taking on such public projects becomes daunting and she replied: “Well, the interiors I design does not have to be an entire hotel for example; I could just add my stamp and bring a little bling to the lobby or the spa. My creativity would tie the whole project together in this one central space.”
Earlier this year, the star wife decided to open her own interiors store in Mumbai, giving rise to The Design Cell, which ranges from antiques picked in Paris to rustic artworks sourced in New York.
“My favourite place to uncover a treasure trove of trinkets is Paris,” she confessed, adding: “But there is no particular style statement that I try to make with my purchases.
“Styles are so fluid, forever changing, that as a designer, you have to keep learning and keep growing your tastes, along with catering to the needs of your client.”
Probe further and she says: “The personal style in my homes leans more towards understated elegance.”
What design tips would she give a novice then who doesn’t want to blow a budget but wants to remain house proud?
Said Gauri: “Keep it clean for starters. I have been to people’s homes that are messy, cluttered. That is no excuse. When you have people over, you need to respect them enough to invite them into a clean environment.”
That may be difficult for families with young children all the time one would say, but Gauri responded: “I am not saying be a freak and keep everything with military precision. I am a mother with a young boy and I am not telling people to give this makeover to their bedroom, but a space that is devoid of a mess and well maintained. That is the key.”
Gauri also admitted that in the new few years, she is willing to explore her creativity, possibly branching into designing bags or jewellery some day.
“It is liberating in many ways, so who knows what the future brings,” she said.